Just the other week Tourism Prince Edward Island organised a very special PEI Culinary Cook-Off at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen restaurant in Toronto’s Liberty Village. Four culinary students from Niagara College, Humber College, Fanshawe College, and Liaison College were challenged to come up with an appetizer dish using Prince Edward Island beef, potatoes, and mussels, as well as some secret ingredients that all happened to have been recently foraged from PEI: fiddleheads, dulce, spruce tips, and cattails. The MC and head judge for the afternoon event was PEI’s gastronomic ambassador and good friend of Good Food Revolution, Chef Michael Smith, a gentleman more than familiar with this bounty of ingredients from The Gentle Isle.
Having judged a multitude of culinary competitions over my years in the business, I have to say that I was quite frankly astonished by the creativity and near flawless presentation of these student competitors. While some of the dishes were certainly better than others, the overall standard was quite superb.
Integrating two of the four foraged ingredients proved to be the biggest challenge for the competitors, with most of them never having worked with spruce tips, dulce, or cattails previously, making for some ingenious combinations and techniques in their final plates. I was actually unaware that PEI was home to so many wild edibles, sea vegetables, and seafood, as is evidenced in the foraging calendar that I have inserted below.
Our hearty congratulations go out to to all the competitors, but especially to the winner, Lorelei Simbulan from Liaison College who knocked our collective socks off with her delicious dish.
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Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he was mightily impressed by the cooking of these young Chefs.